Underground mining is one of the most difficult and dangerous jobs in the world. As such, there are usually many challenges that miners face working underground. Some of the problems faced include the ever-present threat of collapses and toxic contaminants, hard rocks that block the paths of miners, noise from the equipment, and dust.
Having the right pieces of mining equipment for the job is therefore critical in dealing with these challenges and getting the job done successfully and without even one of these tools could mean all the difference. Discussed below are 5 pieces of equipment every underground miner should have.
1. Lighting equipment
It is impossible to mine underground without proper lighting equipment because it is usually pitch black and miners obviously need to see what they are doing. Lighting equipment is essential for blasting, mucking, drilling and scaling and should consist of fixed lighting systems such as tungsten filament and fluorescent and mobile systems, such as cap lamps and flashlights. Both of these will provide sufficient lighting for a miner no matter what task needs to be achieved. All lights used should be produce very little energy as any short would cause a spark that could cause explosions.
2. Mining drills
Drills make the work of a miner easy since they allow for quick and easy penetration through the solid earth while working underground. This allows the miner to plant explosives so that they blast away hard materials and rocks. Drills are also crucial in expanding pathways used by miners.
This way, miners can be able to fit and carry their equipment easily while working underground and also allows them to make escape routes in case a quick exit from the mine needs to be made. While extracting oil and natural gas, drills are used to reach their deposits after which they are piped to the surface.
3. Blasting tools
Blasting tools are common pieces of mining equipment. They are used to break down and fracture rocks using explosives to free the desired mineral deposits. Like mining drills, they can be used to clear the way for the miners and their machines by removing unwanted material, but can remove material that even the drills find hard to remove.
Given that blasting tools can be dangerous, it is advisable to choose the best blast designs. Excessive explosives can cause damage to rock structures that can then lead to unnecessary caving.
4. Crushing equipment
When mining underground, it is common to run into barriers that are very hard to deal with. This equipment is designed to crush the hard stones and rocks to small manageable sizes to help clear the way for a miner.
This valuable equipment can also be used to break the elements of interest into small sizes for easy transportation and conveying. They are also beneficial because they reduce the costs associated with handling larger sized materials and reduces the amount of waste material on the site.
5. Protective equipment
Underground mining carries a constant risk of injuries and possible death. Personal protective equipment is therefore essential to help prevent or at least reduce injuries while mining. Some of the important protective equipment includes clothing made of Kevlar, gloves, eye protection, footwear, hearing protection, headgear, and reflective stripes. Wearing safety glasses, hard hats, and steel-toed footwear is mandatory to prevent or alleviate injury.
The safety of a miner is paramount and as such this safety equipment is a must-have for all miners and even if a piece of equipment is not mandatory, it should nonetheless be considered because it could very well be the difference between life and death.